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Tuesday, May 31st, 2011.  This weekend we had Ben's birthday party, visited my grandmother's church, went swimming and canoeing at Deana's house, had our nephew Caleb over for the night and spent a hot Memorial Day cooling off in Kibler Valley.  (More basketball birthday party photos here)

Friday, May 27th, 2011.  Our baby is eight years old today!  Times they are a changin'.  We now have both feet in the world of SportsCenter and ESPN versus cartoons and Disney Channel.  It's jerseys instead of superhero t-shirts.  It's primping in the morning and worrying about how their hair looks.  It's being able to read the birthday cards and the notes written inside them. 

Ben wrapped up his baseball season Wednesday night with yet another 2-2 night.  In 13 trips to the plate this season, he had 10 hits, 1 RBI, scored 4 runs and had only 2 strike-outs.  Phenomenal job batting, I am very proud of him because getting hits off that pitching machine was very difficult and a rare feat for our team.  Ben also played great defensively, primarily as pitcher, but at first base as well. 

As for my year of coaching coach pitch, I was super, super pleased with the group of kids on our team.  Not a bad one in the bunch.  They learned a lot, improved a lot and were a joy to be around.  It was also great that Amy and Jackson got to have such an active role in helping Ben's team.  Ben will probably play up next year, so this was my last season of coaching him in baseball.  He is moving on, but I might still be able to coach him in soccer one or two more times.  And there is always basketball.   

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011.  We are not breaking away from our baseball theme just yet, although I do have a post about strawberries waiting in the wings.  My sister Deana took today's photos at last week's game. 

Monday, May 23rd, 2011.  Lots of baseball this month.  On Thursday Ben went 2 for 2 again at the plate, finishing the regular season 8-11 for a .727 batting average, which is fantastic.  He also made a great play to get us out of the top of the 4th.  He fielded a grounder at the pitcher's mound, spun and threw it Dylan, our 1st baseman, on a rope.  The two of them both looked like they were ready for the next level with that play.  It was our 5th loss as a team however, so we end with an 0-5 record.  The tournament starts tomorrow and you never know, that 1st win might be waiting for us.  If not, it was a super fun season and I love the group of kids that Ben got to play ball with.  Friday night we went to a Winston-Salem Dash game and loved it.  What a beautiful ballpark.  And the weather was ideal.  I was out of town working on Saturday, but Amy and the boys returned to the ballpark to throw balls with the players, get a tour, play games and more.  We hit and threw ball in the yard on Sunday and tonight Ben has practice. 

Wednesday, May 18th, 2010.  It has been insanely busy this month and that is reflected in the low number of recent posts.  Ben is close to wrapping up his coach pitch season.  It would already have finished, except that the high number of rain storms has pushed the dates back.  I decided before the season to award the player with the highest batting average a Silver Slugger award.  Ben closed out his last two games by going 4 for 4 at the plate and was the only player to finish the year batting over .500.  For the regular season he batted .667.  He also had the lowest strike-out percentage at .222.  I was very proud of how hard he worked on his batting and at how he performed during the games.  And just like last year, each player received one award in recognition of their contributions to the team.  We handed the awards out after practice on Monday.  They are a fantastic bunch of kids and I would pick the exact same team if given the opportunity.  One of my players that I also coached last year surprised me with an awesome Greatest Coach Award that has my quote from our last game on it, "Never Not Go Get The Ball!!!"  I yelled that line several times after both the pitcher and catcher had a frozen moment when the ball was hit a few feet in front of home plate.  Our last game was super exciting as everyone hit fantastic.  We scored 3 runs in the 1st inning and were ahead 6-4 in the 3rd when they called it due to bad weather.  Unfortunately the score reverted back to the end of the previous inning when we were down 4-3, so we didn't get our 1st win, but it was a very, very fun game.  Hopefully we'll have another game like that before the season wraps up. 


Friday, May 6th, 2011.  I took several photos last night of Jackson hanging out with his friend Everett at the Riverside soccer field because Everett will be moving away this summer.  He's an awesome kid and we were really happy that he and Jackson had become such good friends.  We were at the soccer field watching our nephew Caleb play following Ben's baseball game.  Ben went 2-2 again last night, hitting a single and a sneaky double (he should have stayed at 1st, but ignored his coach and kept running) and scored our only run.  As a team though, it was a tough night at the plate with only 3 players getting on base, our lowest percentage all season.  And the other team happened to hit the ball exceptionally well, so it was a lopsided 7-1 loss.  BUT, the kids made no serious errors on defense and made several good plays.  I still say that when our hitters start hitting the way that I know they can, we will hang right with the best teams in the league.  But for now, we are 0-3 in the regular season with 2 games left.
Amy and Jackson also watched Caleb play soccer on his birthday earlier this week.  Dad, Melanie and her family all came back to the house following it.  Papa and Caleb were able to stay for pizza and for some of my mom's delicious strawberry shortcake.  Jackson asked her to make it for his as his birthday present.  For the second year in a row, he is celebrating his birthday by having a sleepover at our house.  So tonight we will have 6 or 7 boys running around.  Let's just hope that we make it through the night without a trip to the emergency room this year. 


Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011.  Today is Jackson's 11th birthday.  We started the celebration last night with dinner at Chili Rojo.  This followed 2 hours at the baseball field with Ben and his team and an hour at Cub Scouts, where Ben received his Tiger and Bobcat badges.  Ben gave Jackson a Celtics Rondo t-shirt this morning.  We gave him a Steve Nash jersey from us this afternoon.  Jackson is an awesome kid and we are very, very lucky.  In other happenings, we celebrated our one year houseversary this past weekend.  The neighborhood continues to be a lot of fun.  We hosted our first outdoor driveway drive-thru movie of the season on Friday, with neighbors joining us for popcorn and Yogi Bear.  The kids went with Deana to see Rio on Saturday, with Jackson returning to Stuart with her for a sleep-over.  That night, Amy had girlfriends over to watch Eclipse on the first girls-only outdoor movie night.  We also got to help celebrate SKV's 3rd birthday across the street with just a gigantic, fun party that afternoon.  And as a bonus, the boys got to play with their brother-from-another-mother Brett and Amy got to hold his sweet little sister Sammi.  On Sunday evening, following lots of fun play with the kids in the neighborhood, which included games like Extreme Capture The Flag and Dunk Your Head In The Bucket Tag, our friends the Sheppards stopped by while out on a stroll.  Had it not been for Amy being accosted by two girls in the Walmart parking lot, it would have been a perfect small town weekend.